Recently, on Huff Post, trainer Chris Powell details the top 10 excuses of weight loss. I think we know a lot of them, we’ve used a lot of them, and as a colleague of mine says, “All excuses are valid, none will work.” Excuses are often time used to cushion ourselves from the conversation of the real reason why we are not doing some, a way to justify our actions, or a way to avoid a difficult situation. Each of these excuses have a hidden meaning behind them saying what they really mean, but people feel bad saying that. If losing weight, getting fit, or getting healthy are important, these excuses cannot be used, and if these things are not a priority (remembering, a priority is not what you say is important, it is what you do), then FINE! That is okay, no one is forcing you on your journey, and your fear of being judged for not wanting to is entirely up to you — you are the one that has to sweat through it, and if it isn’t a priority, then it won’t happen, BUT OWN THAT – no need to say, “I really want to lose weight, but…” because there is no magic wands that are going to transform you, you have to want it, and these excuses will just hold you back, I know — i’ve used most of them.
I thought these excuses were pretty good, if others have more, write them down!
1. I don’t have time.
I think everyone uses this excuse, and coupled with it is often, “i’m too tired.” We have have jobs, families, events, and other responsibilities in our lives, and we just feel fatigued at the end of the day. Who wants to pop over to the gym or go for a run? I never did, that is for sure. If you have the motivation, this excuse falls away in an instant. When people tell me this, I always reference the episode of The Biggest Loser, where everyone goes to see Michelle Obama. This past season was no excuses, and one of the contestants said, “If Michelle Obama can find 30 minutes each day to work out, so can I.” This is true, which is why this excuse really should be, “With the small amount of time I may have left in the day, I do not want to use it exercising.” Again, that is fine, but own that, no one is making you work out. I am already trying to find my way around this excuse for Tuesdays starting in two weeks. I work from 7 – 2, free time from 2 – 3:30, class from 4-6:30 and fitness skate from 6:30 – 8:30. I still have insanity on Tuesdays, so I have to squeeze it in between 2-3:30, which will be a tight squeeze for sure, or do it after fitness skate, which will probably not happen. Either way, I want it to happen, so I will find time. I think most of us can agree if we truly want sometime, we can usually find time in our schedule to make it happen.
2. I can’t afford to eat healthy or go to the gym.
This one is actually hitting me after the fact, ha. A few of these excuses are truly legitimate. It is difficult to afford a healthier lifestyle, but it is entirely possible. Yes, maybe you can’t go to the organic market each week, but just think about the junk food that you might be eating now – the yogurt, almonds, mushrooms, frozen veggies, etc. are not that much more. Now, things like leaner meat – def. more expensive, so get chicken for now. I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination, and again, because it is important to eat healthier, I budget accordingly. Save the money that you stopped buying soda with to buy a healthier snack, it can be done. About the gym — there are many programs out there that you can get that will teach you how to work out. Running is free, hiking is free, pushups are free – check out “You Are Your Own Gym.” I do understand, despite saying free, there are costs associated with activities. Fore example, running shoes, but, for now, do what you can with what you have, and if you end up loving it, put aside a little bit each week.
It may not seem fair that you cannot afford to buy everything that is the healthiest, but portion control is one of the key factors in getting fit. If we eat 1200 calories of M&M’s a day, we will technically still lose weight, it may happen faster, or you may go into a diabetic coma, but it will happen, so work on portions first. It sucks that shitty food is cheaper, I hear you, but if you want to get healthier, you have to finagle the finances.
3. It is too hard.
Damn right it is, it wouldn’t be worth it if it weren’t, and if it were easy, everyone would be at a healthy weight, fit, and obesity would not be one of the leading causes of long-term health risk in our country. It is hard because you aren’t used to it. In the same way moving to a new town is hard – you have to find new friends, a new job, it feels weird, and you don’t know where to start. This is normal, but you have to start somewhere, otherwise you will sit in your new house, moping about what you don’t have because you never took a step outside of the door. Maybe you are content inside of this house because you still have Facebook to keep you busy, but ask yourself – in this house of yours, are you truly fulfilled? If the answer is yes, then great, you have unlocked the point of all of this — to be happy. If you are happy with yourself, love yourself, and your house is good enough to you, keep on truckin’. But, I know, even for myself, I thought I was happy in that house – it is sort of like the scene in Labyrinth when Sarah meets the Junk Lady and the Junk Lady tries to hypnotize her into living a life that feels like her old one to keep her from her quest. That moment when the room comes down is the moment I realize that it was a facade, that the things in it were great and nice, but I had to wake up and push forth to the Goblin City!
Losing weight has been the hardest thing I have ever done! Growing up, things were not always easy, and that was for many years of my life, and during my first year of college, I was incredibly ill for almost an entire year – which, up until this point, was the hardest time I had ever had in life. Losing weight, an elective process, has been an extreme mental and physical journey for me, but it has also been the absolute most rewarding thing I have ever done for myself. To give myself health and happiness is something that any blog post, list, or other person could possibly give to me – and for that, I hope you find this, if it is what you want.
Also realize, there will be days that you fail, this makes you a human being, it’s what you do tomorrow that matters now. We all have days where we eat more, don’t exercise, feel sick, have to go to that conference — it’s fine, it’s life, and that is the difference between trying to lose some weight, and getting to a healthier place, it truly is a lifestyle change.
4. It is uncomfortable.
Sure is – this excuse is very much like the last one. To push through beyond what you think you can is extremely difficult. It requires you to prove yourself wrong on a daily basis, because you have told yourself for so long that you aren’t able to do something, to push yourself beyond it seems impossible. YOU CAN DO IT. I promise, if my story doesn’t prove it, watch Extreme Makeover, Biggest Loser, go on the Reddit/r/Loseit forums – we are able to conquer ourselves, and although it is a physical battle, it is 80% psychological.
I had never run a single mile in my entire life before March of this year, now, I have run almost 100 miles since then! I am doing a half marathon (ask me last year if I even knew how many miles that was) next month, and I am constantly trying to push beyond what I know — want to know how I know I can do it? Because I have already done it once – the more you prove to yourself, the more you understand that you are able to do these things.
It will get uncomfortable, but embrace that, it’s uncomfortable because it’s new and because you are growing. At my job, we always say, “if you are uncomfortable, you are growing” because you are inviting something into your life that is dissonant, and something you can learn from.
It will be uncomfortable, come to terms with that.
5. I love to eat.
Who doesn’t? Food tastes great, but it’s about portion control. Of course, eating 3 donuts are better than 1, but if you want to get into shape and get healthy, eat 1 for now. Make those small changes that you can deal with, and make only one or two, then make more.
For the first year of my journey, I lost about 40 pounds, which I was unhappy with (I was happy to lose weight, but 40 pounds in 1 year is a number I knew I could have done better with). This motivated me to take the small changes I had made, and make them bigger – instead of soda, I had moved to diet soda, so I moved to water and skim milk. Instead of turnovers, candy, cake, little debbie snacks, doritos, reeses, and all the other junk food, I moved to goldfish, then I moved to popcorn, almonds, and odwalla bars. Don’t kill yourself over the what right now, deal with reducing your calories and educate yourself.
Education of nutrition and health is the #1 reason I have done what I have done. If you move your body around for long enough to sweat, you will eventually lose some weight, it is about what we consume and how much of it we consume. Get a tracker like MyFitnessPal.com that will help you. Honestly, I think of how I was eating a year and a half ago, and it makes me sick to think I consumed that many calories in a given day. I remember about 2 years ago, I would drink about 7 cans of soda a day, and now even 1 can of diet soda is too sweet for me.
We all love to eat, but we need to look at food as fuel, not something we turn to when our days get bad. You won’t adopt that mindset right away, and this is the biggest piece of the struggle, so you have to lay out a plan that will work for you.
6. I don’t know what to do or where to start.
Who does!? I have tried and failed in the past, but this time, things just clicked. I started by joining a program at our local gym called Big Bears to Little Bears (our mascot is a black bear). I joined with some friends, which was great support at the beginning of the journey, to know I wasn’t alone in the fight. I did that program for about a year and a half, and this coming fall, I feel as if I don’t really need the team structure to continue on my journey. Now, I said that once before, and I failed, but part of my problem was my fear of going to the gym alone. I never had any motivation to work out at home either. I go the gym alone, play raquetball with friends, do insanity in my livingroom, run outside, hike, and do a variety of other things in the world where fitness did not exist before. Again, it is about changing your mindset.
Like I said, with food, start at someplace like MyFitnessPal. Once you start making those changes, START SMALL, start walking a couple days a week, just to get your body flowing. Join a program like the one I did, or get a personal trainer if you can afford it. Start couch to 5k – a great running program, get a workout video, go hiking, the options are there, you just have to pick one. Will you love it right away? Hell no, I love running now, and it took me 7 months to realize that. Once I started running outside, and then things got a bit easier, I fell in love with it. Well, in love is a strong way to put it, but running is one of my favorite activities now.
It doesn’t matter where you start, JUST START.
7. I don’t have the willpower.
And there will be times where you just won’t. There will be a pot luck, a party at work, and your favorite dessert will be there, and you will eat it, I promise. But, as time goes on, you get healthier, you lose the weight, your priorities start shifting, you start realize that your relationship with food is changing, and sure you might still have it, but maybe you will do an extra mile today, or maybe you will have something a little better for you. Cravings are the nemesis of willpower, and willpower isn’t something you just get overnight, you have to work hard for it. Hunger is not a bad thing. We are socialized to eat any time we are hungry, and it is an uncomfortable feeling. DRINK WATER, if it doesn’t help (after a few cups), then get a small snack, don’t torture yourself, but understand that it will take a while for you to tell your body that you aren’t going to consume 3000 calories a day anymore.
8. I don’t have support from friends or family.
This is a tough one for sure. Like I mentioned before, I joined that program with some friends for a support network. Members came and gone each semester, a few core stayed, but when I really started making the bigger transitions (diet and going to the gym 5 – 6 times a week), I did it on my own. As much as other people can be supportive, you have to find that support within yourself. You are the only one who is going to be eating that piece of cake or running that mile. You have to put in the hard work, no one else.
With that said, even if people are not on the front lines with you, it is nice to have encouragement. If you have no one in your life whatsoever to say how well you are doing, find a place online. Fitocracy, Reddit/r/Loseit, there are places where people JUST LIKE YOU, are going through the same thing, they have the same questions, and have had the same excuses. It isn’t easy, so find those resources.
9. I have a medical condition (thyroid, disabled, food intolerance, and many more).
I have asthma, and I decided to become a running? Ironic, for sure. Life is about modification – if you a thyroid problem, life handed you shitty weight control, but are you going to let that control you? Some of us must face greater adversity when attempting a journey like this one. My asthma has always been an excuse as to why I couldn’t run. I would get doctor notes to get out of activity in high school, but when it is just you and yourself, you can tell yourself that you will be a victim of your breathing or you can do the best you can. Even last night, my breathing was terrible on my run, and I know I could have done better if I had the lungs of someone who did not have asthma, but, I still got a new personal best time. I may not be running 18 minutes. but I am out there, doing it, and that is all you have to do. Medical conditions are the most legitimate sources of an excuse, which make them the strongest to combat especially if you have been using it as a shield your entire life, like I had. Do not let your condition determine your future, take control of your own body – alter your workout, do it slower, eat something different, find a way around it because, I promise, there is a way around it. Talk to your doctor and find out what a health alternative is, the first step in all of this is to stay safe, but still take risks – otherwise you will never take that first step.
10. I have an injury to my (select all that apply) neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, back, hips, knee, ankle, and/or baby toe.
Same thing is applicable to the excuse above. I know for awhile, when running I was getting side stitches and shin splints, which would legitimately slow me down, sometimes to a halting stop, so I would walk for a bit, and if it felt better, start running again, if not you tackle it the best day. We heal, which is the great thing about the human body, even for long-term injuries, you can find a way to lose weight (again it is 80% diet) with your injury. There was one episode of Extreme Makeover, where someone had a pinched nerve, which is an extremely painful thing to have, and although they couldn’t go at 100%, they still got on the treadmill each day and worked as hard as they could.
I said, “you” a lot, just to speak to the non-existant person using these excuses, but I used most of these on a daily basis, and I would even add in “I didn’t know it was a problem”, because that was the hidden excuse I had been using for years. Yeah, I always knew I was a fat kid, but I didn’t understand the weight of the situation (pun intended!) There are 100 more excuses out there, but, again you are the only person who will believe your own excuses, or someone else who is using the same one — don’t let yourself fool yourself, if you want this, go for it, take it, and own itl.
We are capable of great things, we just have to let ourselves believe it! No excuses, start today!